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Showing posts from March, 2018

God dies

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Picture from LatinTimes ‘You’re so powerless, Pilate,’ Jesus thought as he stood in the praetorium.   The prefect of Caesar had washed his hands off his responsibility to uphold the truth.   ‘What is truth?’ he had asked. He did not wait for an answer.   Jesus was not going to answer him anyway.   He knew as well as Pilate that definitions were not what mattered to either of them.   ‘I am the truth,’ Jesus had said many times.   ‘You are the truth,’ he would have told Pilate, ‘if you wish to be.’   ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ The crowd outside the praetorium clamours louder and louder.   Being very religious, they have not entered the praetorium.   The praetorium is a pagan place and Yahweh’s chosen people should not enter pagan places on the Passover day lest they be defiled. The High Priests, Annas and Caiaphas, instigated the people by wielding their religious power.   Jesus had set the axe at the very root of their religion.   Their religion meant rubrics a

Driving lessons

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I realise that driving has lost its charm for me.   The last few days have me driving for over an hour from seven in the morning in order to reach the place where I have been assigned a job related to my regular work.   I reach back home at 6 in the evening driving the same route back.   There was a time when bike riding was a passion for me.   I loved to glide along the mountain tracks of Meghalaya just for the fun of it.   When I shifted to Delhi, riding ceased to be fun.   Delhi roads make people mad.   There are too many vehicles on the roads and all of them are in a hurry.   Many of them are plain crazy too.   I never enjoyed the rides in that crazy city of insane drivers and riders though I never became the target of any road rage which was ubiquitous on Delhi’s teeming roads.   I thought a car drive through the roads in Kerala flanked by lush greenery would be fun.   No way, as I learnt now.   You can never afford to look away from the windshield.   You don’t know

More face and less feelings

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Image from Pinterest Like all adolescents, I too loved to stand in front of the mirror and admire myself.   As an adolescent, I thought I was the most handsome boy in the world.   Like most people, I outgrew that phase.   Mirror has now become redundant in my life.   Well, almost.   I still need it for trimming my grey beard. Selfies belong to adolescence, I think.   It is natural for adolescents to think that they are the centre of the universe, that everyone in the world is watching them and admiring them.   When adolescents put up their selfies in social media, there is nothing unnatural.   If people like me, whose autumn leaves have started dropping, are obsessed with selfies, then there is a problem.   I can’t even use my mobile phone to take a selfie properly. My hand will tremble and the phone will fall off most probably.   Even if it didn’t, I wouldn’t dare to take selfies.   I know that I am not the centre of the universe. I admire selfies sometimes.   But

The Cloud

No, I don’t want to walk with you, I’m sorry, I want to walk with the cloud up there, the dark, looming, vaporous mass. I can smile at you, laugh at your jokes, help you with the work, but that’s quite all. I want to walk with the cloud up there and become shapeless and massless and melt into a great sorrow that descends to dissolve into the dirt that I’ve smiled at and laughed at and helped create.

A Phone Call and a Destiny

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Some phone calls are ominous.   There was a time when I used to dread them.   Mercifully they are very rare.   They come from someone or the other associated with an institution of which I was a member for ten years of my youth.   Though I bid final adieu to the institution somewhere down the line, the institution took a diabolic interest in haunting me throughout my life and making as much a mess of it as it could.   Image from ArtStation When the call came today, I ignored it as I often do with unknown numbers. But when the call was repeated a few hours later, I answered it.   As soon as I heard the connections mentioned by the caller, I knew I was doomed.   It meant that they are going to mess up my life now that I have brought some order to it after I dealt with a protracted depression and the concomitant downsides of it. A couple of days back, ‘destiny’ cropped up in a discussion in a class I was taking. I told my students that I never believed in ‘destiny’ as a y

Arvind Kejriwal’s Apologies

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Is Arvind Kejriwal a symbol of the increasing effeteness of truth?   He has been issuing apology after apology, the latest being to Nitin Gadkari.   Earlier he apologised to Bikram Singh Majithia.   Along with Manish Sisodia, he apologised to Kapil Sibal’s son Amit Sibal.   The offended are accepting the apologies with surprising promptness.   There are 30 more defamation cases against Kejriwal.   So are we going to get 30 more apologies and 30 more prompt acceptances? It is understandable that Mr Kejriwal does not wish to waste his time on court cases.   He says he wants to devote his time to more fruitful administrative activities.   That’s fine.   The people need those services and not court entertainments.   But the promptness with which the offended people accept the apologies raise our suspicions.   Is truth being buried facilely with each apology?   Do the apologies and their prompt acceptances mean that it is not easy to defend the truth in today’s India?   I

Blogchatter AtoZ Challenge

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Hi Friend, “April is the cruellest month,” T. S. Eliot declared, “breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land…”   April is my summer break.   I’m going to celebrate it with a lot of writing, “stirring (certain) dull roots with spring rain.”   Daily blogging is one of those challenges.   ‘One of’ implies that I have taken up another challenge too.   That will be revealed towards the end of April.   This is to comply with Blogchatter: reveal the theme of my AtoZ posts.   I wrote a few days back that “My A2Z may begin with Abracadabra and end on a magical Zenith.”   Yes, the theme of my AtoZ posts is: Life’s Magic . It can be read as: 1.      Life is Magic 2.      Life has Magic 3.      The Magic of Life The first post will indeed be titled Abracadabra and the last Zenith .   Abracadabra starts off the magic.   I hope to take you to the Zenith of a magic mountain by the time we reach the end of April.   I’m not the wizard, however.   You will be the wizard with

Like a boy

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There’s a part of me that stopped growing somewhere at adolescence.   That part emerged very strongly the other day when I visited a Park as part of the staff tour from school.   I found myself cycling round in the Park with the passion of a young boy. I was touching a cycle after a gap of some three decades.   When I was an undergrad student at St Albert’s College in Kochi in the early eighties, I was an ardent cyclist.   I went to college by cycle.   Whenever there was free time in between due to the absence of a lecturer, I cycled to the Ernakulam Public Library which was over a kilometre away from college .   When college was over, my cycling came to an end. Cycling has a unique gracefulness as I realised once again recently, decades after college.   The cycle needs very little space and you can manoeuvre it through almost anywhere.   It just swans along with an unassuming poise letting the breeze waft straight on your face.   It doesn’t pollute air with the exhaust

Are Paper ballots the answer?

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The Congress has asked the Election Commission to return to paper ballots since the EVMs have chosen to be Every Vote for Modi .   While the paper ballots may exorcise the spectre thrown up by the deus ex machina, will it help the Congress? The real tragedy of the country is that it offers no respectable alternative to the craftiness of the Modi-Shah combo.   Rahul Gandhi has grown up in the last couple of years but is still a dwarf beside the colossal images of the crafty combo.   All others of any significance are mere local patriarchs with no national appeal.   Moreover, instead of fighting the communal card played by the BJP and its allies, the Congress is also showing communal fangs when required.   It has always been an opportunistic party from the time of Indira Gandhi when it comes to religious sentiments.   It kept on appeasing certain sections of the country’s population merely for the sake of winning votes.   The appeasements really achieved nothing more than v

Dreams on Meadows

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A view from the Watchtower at the place Nestled in the lap of nature, Mango Meadows at Kaduthuruthy in Kerala offers a unique experience with its glimpses into the traditional plants and agricultural practices of the state.   It is branded as “Agriculture theme park.”   Like most contemporary ads, it seeks to rope in children with the professed intention of making them familiar with varieties of plants that are on the verge of extinction.   It is a commercial venture, however.   Like all commercial ventures, it has to keep on modifying the professed goals and objectives if it has to be commercially viable, let alone successful.   The entrepreneur behind this venture must be a dreamer.   I’m glad he created the Garden of Eden too in the little available area.   He has brought as many species of fruit trees as possible in a little space.   They are all hybrid plants, however.   New Gen plants for the New Gen children.   But no children were found appreciating any of th

Country roads, take me home

When I left Delhi for my village in Kerala three years ago, a friend remarked that I would not last more than a year in the village.   I quipped, “You’ve given me a whole year!   I’ve given myself only 6 months.” I never thought I would fit in my village.   The fact is I haven’t – not in the usual sense.   I live as solitary a life as possible in the village and the people are apparently happy to leave me alone.   My fear was precisely how much solitude would be granted me.   As I’m completing three years of my existence in this village, I’m more than pleased with the whole-hearted cooperation of people in leaving me to myself. The plain truth is that there are no villages in Kerala.   Villages have undergone much change with most people living alone in their big houses, some of which look palatial, travelling by their own private vehicles, and mostly avoiding meddling with other people’s affairs.   In addition to all that is the fairly large migrant population in the vill

Kiss-curls of history

Fiction “History is as shifty as the kiss-curl that moves so seductively across your cheek in the fan’s breeze,” He said running his finger gently on her cheek. Outside the hotel room, the Sarayu continued to flow listlessly. “Is your research coming to an end?” she asked. “Well, almost.   It’s not research really,” he paused. “I wanted to have a feel of this place.   For a novel that I’m writing.   Ayodhya of Rama and Sita finds an appearance.” “Is this the Ayodhya of Rama and Sita?” She asked that more to herself than to him. “For the novel’s purpose, yes.   Otherwise the Sarayu mentioned in the ancient scriptures could very well be the Hari-Rud flowing through Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan.” “I knew you’d come out with something like that,” she said.   “You were always like that.   In the class too.” “The names of rivers mentioned in scriptures can be very deceptive,” he said ignoring her mention of the class.   “The Buddhist scripture, Samyut

Bloodstains in the snow

“Words fail me, Clio.   How did you track me down, did I leave bloodstains in the snow?” Whenever someone tells me to leave the past and live in the present, I am reminded of the above-quoted opening lines of John Banville’s novella, The Newton Letter .   The past will track you down even if you don’t leave bloodstains on the granite pavements you plodded on. The past can be a vindictive ghost especially if you haven’t managed to achieve something which the world of mediocre people perceive as success.   Mediocrity has a peculiar knack for sniffing bloodstains in snow. The solution is not trying to live in the present.   The solution is not erasing the past.   The solution is keeping the mediocre as far away from you as possible. The world belongs to the mediocre.   There is no real escape from them.   But you can keep a safe distance. If you have political power, you can erase the past.   You can create new history.   Heroes become villains and vice versa.   Crimi

Rice bag

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One of the new nicknames I’ve earned on social media is ‘Rice bag’.   The Sanghis use that name for any South Indian who questions the Sangh views and outlooks.   I think so.   But when it comes to Sanghis it is impossible to say what exactly they mean by anything.   The most fundamental characteristic of a Sanghi is utter lack of humour as well as imagination. If you laugh when a Sanghi tells you that Ganesha’s trunk was the first case of plastic surgery in the history of medical science, the Sanghi will call you a Rice bag.   You can’t laugh when he thinks he is serious.   If you express an opinion that goes against the tenets and creeds of the Modified Sangh, the Sanghi will call you a Rice bag.   You may wonder what rice or bag has got to do with all these?   Nothing. It is only the Sanghi way of telling you that they have no imagination to call you anything else other than by the place you belong to, or the food you eat, or the dress you wear.   I become a Rice b